Woo hoo! New week, new ‘be happy’ tip.
This week I’ve decided to test out the theory that exercise can make you happier.
Even though I have spent a lot of time exercising throughout my life, the past few months have been full of no exercise…besides the occasional walk. So this week I will be incorporating exercise into my daily routine to see just how happy I can be!
I have written about exercise a lot, and I know that it releases endorphins which make us feel good. Interestingly they are also released during times of excitement, love, laughter, orgasm, and consumption of spicy food.
Exercise is also supposed to give you more energy. I have to admit that I have been feeling quite tired lately, and I could use some more energy. Plus, I think more energy would allow me to live in the moment more. When you are tired, you focus on negative things and that can make you cranky, and crankiness is not living in the moment at all!
Also, exercise is supposed to make you feel good because you are doing something good for your body. It should improve your mental outlook on yourself and your life. I have seen studies where participants who needed to lose weight incorporated exercise into their daily life, and at the end of the study, even if they had not lost weight, they still felt better about themselves.
These are the things that I already know about exercise and happiness, so lets see what else I learn this week. Looking forward to it!
Day 1 – Definitely Helped My Attitude
Unfortunately, this week we have to put our oldest dog down. We have been struggling with this, but the appointment is made and we have come to terms with it – somewhat.
Until that day, we need to walk her as much as possible because she is randomly going to the bathroom in our house, and there is no rhyme or rhythm to when she goes. In fact, she normally goes after we have walked her, which is very frustrating.
So, I upped my amount of walks, and upped my amount of exercise.
I decided that I wanted to shoot for 10 minutes of exercise per every hour I was awake, but I quickly realized that I was not going to get in 140 minutes of exercise. So, I decided to lower it to 5 minutes of exercise per every hour I am awake, and that worked out much better. Who knows, I might up next week, but for now this feels pretty doable.
The walks helped me burn of anxious energy about what we need to do. They helped me get out of my office and reconnect with nature – which of course is why walking or being outside gets my vote for exercise.
I was thinking about this guy in my town who dances while he walks, and I now think that he may be using it as his way to exercise…it makes sense. Combining dance and walking together has got to be the ultimate way to be happy, right?
If you think about it, dance walking may be the ultimate happy exercise. Not only do you get exercise and enjoy music and nature together, but you make other people happy as they watch you. YOU SPREAD HAPPINESS!
It just takes the guts to do it and be a different kind of walker.
Day 2 – Waking Up Earlier
I have always noticed that when I exercise hard the day before, I wake up earlier than normal. I wasn’t sure if this was a coincidence or not, so I looked it up to see if I could find anyone else who experienced this and possible reasons as to why this is.
First, I have to say that I LOVE waking up earlier. It allows me to get more done with my day, even if it is just laying around in bed and meditating on life some more.
Exercise helps people get to sleep
Doctors think that exercise, especially cardiovascular exercise, in the afternoon helps people sleep better. However, exercising before bed can cause someone not to fall asleep. Source
That means that falling asleep easier, and having a better sleep, would ultimately make you more rested. However, I tend to fall asleep just fine, and it is interesting because my husband and I went on an hour walk to have coffee, and we went to bed when we got home, but we still both slept fine, and I still woke up early.
In the end, I couldn’t find anything about exercise causing you to wake up earlier, but I did find a lot of material on how it helps you sleep better, so I assume this is why I get up earlier. I must have better sleeps! I know I don’t have any sleep disorders, so…well, now that I am thinking about it, I guess I do wake up a lot at night to turn over, and I don’t remember doing that last night.
So, if you want to sleep better, wake up earlier, and be happy when your eyes open up at 6am, then exercise the day before!
Day 3 and 4 – Putting Down Our Dog And Exercise
Today, we took her out for a car trip and made sure we gave her plenty of walks. Even though she can hardly walk, she enjoyed the day. We walked through neighborhoods that she loved, and we walked where there was tons of smells to smell and snow to eat. (Her thirst was through the roof.)
By the time we got to the Vet, she had walked a total of two to three hours throughout the day. When she went into the room, they gave her a sedative, and she was snoring within a minute. So, she died in her sleep.
Exercise helped her last day be not only fun, but calm during the last moments as well.
So, through tears I’m saying, yes – exercise made her, me, and my husband happier during this hard, hard day.
Day 5, 6, and 7
I have not been able to write for the past few days. My dog’s death has really taken a toll on me, and now another pet in our family had to be put down as well. So this has been one of the saddest weeks of my life.
I have exercised a little bit. But to be quite honest, I have ate way more than I exercised. So, this will have to be done another time.
I do know that exercise does make you feel good. Getting out into the air and the sun is therapeutic and can make sad moments feel better.
I also know that heavy cardio exercise burns off energy (especially negative energy) and that can help you feel better as well.
In the end, I would have to say that exercising is definitely a way to be happy.